Parcel B is the public park that never was, a piece of government-owned land that residents have been promised would be a public park since the construction of the AmericanAirlines Arena in front of it. Now with Museum Park is open, Parcel B will be staring everyone in the face instead of hiding, almost forgotten, behind an arena, and the county commission is looking at what to do with it.
Renderings for that arena originally showed Parcel B as a soccer field, but it has remained stagnant ever since, with the incredibly valuable land occasionally being considered for development now and then. Its potential as a site for the Cuban Exile History Museum, and for arena parking (the arena has very little) have both been discussed. To preserve Parcel B as a park, while adding parking (and, ok, putting the museum somewhere else) architecture firm Lewis & Nielsen Design proposes building a park on top of a parking garage, and boom!
The intent of L&ND's design is twofold. First, the design provides a vision for the park as a neighborhood resource and treasure. Secondly, the design serves as a catalyst to create a citywide greenway that connects downtown to its surrounding periphery neighborhoods. This central hub is crucial as it allows Miamians and visitors to enjoy Biscayne Bay and downtown unencumbered by vehicular traffic. The connections to existing adjacent public spaces are made via bridges and underpasses. The design of the bridge between Museum Park and Parcel B is iconic as it is structurally supported using a prop root system similar to a Red Mangrove Tree. This iconic bridge will reinforce the identity of the park, circulation system, and surrounding natural environment in a comparable fashion as Millennium Bridge in London. The proposed design for Parcel B provides ample space for active recreation, access to Biscayne Bay, and attractive native plantings. The design encourages people to walk, skateboard, play soccer, paddle board, or simply enjoy the impressive Biscayne Bay views. This proposed 'energetic' program varies greatly from the proposed 'passive' public spaces being constructed at Museum Park. Sensibly placed features such as the skate park, children's play area, and walkways activate the space and add "eyes" to the park to ensure public safety.
Defining the park as a unique space is its proposed swelling landscape. From water level, the park gracefully slopes to the street level and then to the arena level. These three terrace levels delineate program zones and create generous vantage points to enjoy bay views. The undulating levels of the park are supported by a substructure that houses an 'unseen' public parking garage. This county owned parking garage will supplement county funds to maintain the proposed park and augment event parking at the arena.